NEW DELHI: Google India has announced ambitious plans to help 20m small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India to get online by 2017 and hopes to win their business with a mobile app designed exclusively for them.

The internet giant sees the "Google My Business" mobile app as being key to the success of the initiative because it will help Indian businesses to create and manage their information across Google platforms for free, in both Hindi and English, the Financial Express reported.

Launched just five months ago, "Google My Business" has already built up 1m business users and is attracting 25,000 new businesses each week, according to Rajan Anandan, vice president and managing director of Google India and South-East Asia.

"SMEs have been central to Google's success globally and have been a strategic focus for us in India," he said. "Our moonshot aim is to get 20m SMEs online in the next three years."

He said India will have over 500m internet users by 2017 and they will need access to all sorts of information in their local languages as well as much better online connectivity to businesses than is currently available.

There are 51m SMEs in India, yet less than 5 to 6 percent have an online presence, so Google wants its new product to plug the information gap, especially as about two-thirds of internet users in India access the internet only through their mobiles.

"Indian SMEs have struggled to build and maintain their online presence. Search experience for local business in India is broken today and we want to fix it by connecting businesses with their customers," said Anandan.

Data sourced from Financial Express, Forbes India; additional content by Warc staff